Of all the bad habits that traditional fashion magazines still can’t seem to shake, the most egregious is zooming in on a plus-size cover star’s body to show just her face.
Shot by Hype Williams (his first cover for American Vogue), she modelled a slew of designer duds by Moschino, Gucci and LaQuan Smith in the feature. In the interview, written by Claudia Rankine, Lizzo waxed poetic about the appropriation of the body-positive movement, something we see all too often these days in media and, yes, fashion magazines. But she is quick to point out that we all have a place in the movement ― so long as we’re truly holding space for everyone.
“It’s commercialised,” she said. “Now, you look at the hashtag ‘body positive,’ and you see smaller-framed girls, curvier girls. Lotta white girls. And I feel no ways about that, because inclusivity is what my message is always about. I’m glad that this conversation is being included in the mainstream narrative. What I don’t like is how the people that this term was created for are not benefiting from it. Girls with back fat, girls with bellies that hang, girls with thighs that aren’t separated, that overlap. Girls with stretch marks. You know, girls who are in the 18-plus club. They need to be benefiting from ... the mainstream effect of body positivity now. But with everything that goes mainstream, it gets changed. It gets—you know, it gets made acceptable.”
As Lizzo has gained popularity over the years, she has never shied away from using her platform to promote positivity ― and the causes she cares about. In the interview, she also talked about her feelings concerning Kamala Harris’ vice presidential nomination, police brutality and encouraging her fans ― the millions she has amassed on Instagram, Twitter and TikTok ― to vote.
“I just want to encourage people to register to vote,” she told Rankine. “That is the most important thing to me. Because there’s a lot of upset people, and there’s a lot of people who have power. There’s a lot of voter suppression in Black communities. But there’s a lot of angry white kids now. And I’m, like, ‘Yo, register to vote. Go out. You won’t get suppressed if you try to go to your ballot box.’ You know? I think it’s important to remind people of what they can do. My job isn’t to tell you how to vote. But my job is hopefully to inspire you to vote, to activate you, so that you can take your protest to the ballot box.”
Thank you, Lizzo, for your wisdom, and thank you, Vogue, for putting it ― all of it ― on full display. Vogue’s October issue comes out on newsstands on Oct. 6. You can read and see the entire spread here.